Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.) running back Malik Davis claims more than 20 offers, and he just recently whittled down that list to about seven. The programs standing out to the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder include mostly programs from the ACC and Big Ten along with one SEC suitor.
“In no order, it’s North Carolina, Miami, Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Pitt,” Davis said. “But of those, I’d say North Carolina and Miami are the two standing out since those are the two schools I’ve been to and am the most familiar with. So they might have the edge right now, but I have to see the other schools on my list first and then go from there.”
Of course, both the Heels and Canes have multiple running pledges (two each), which could complicate the situation if Davis wants to commit to either program. But the Jesuit back said he’s spoken to coaches from each school and intimated both UNC and Miami would accept a third running back commitment.
“It honestly doesn’t bother me at all that North Carolina and Miami have running backs already committed. There’s gong to be competition everywhere I go. I’m not backing down from the competition; I’ll go in and compete for a spot,” Davis said. “I know both those schools still want me.”
The Tampa native went on to break down each program on his leaderboard, starting with the two up top:
North Carolina: “With UNC, I like them a lot. Since they offered me I have had a great relationship with the staff. They’re just letting me know how important I am to them, and how I can come in and be an big time player. And when I visited there, the campus was beautiful and I loved the environment. I’ll go back at some point too, but I’m not sure when.”
Miami: “I think it’s a great school, especially with the tradition and how they always produce great running backs. Plus it’s a great opportunity to paly at home. I went there a couple months ago for a visit, and I loved it there. Now, I’m going back this weekend [July 16] for another visit. They’re like my top school, so I feel like I need to be around there and get a better feel for it.”
Maryland: “I like Maryland a lot. It’s Big Ten football, they run the ball there in the new offense, and I like [offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s] system. I talk to their coaches a lot, and it a great relationship. Coach [Chris] Beatty] and Coach [Anthony] Tucker, they both talk to me, and they let me know how much a priority I am to them. There’s a real chance I can shine there and build a legacy there.
“I haven’t been there yet, but I’ll probably take an official there if my family can’t get me up there this summer. Maryland is a school I definitely want to see.”
Kentucky: “I like that it’s in the SEC, which is a great conference. I talk to the coaches from time to time, and they think I’m a great player. Plus, their running backs do well and I feel like I can go there and be a great player. I’m trying to visit there this summer.”
Indiana: “I like Indiana because they produce great running backs and the running backs coach is a great guy. We have a great relationship and he lets me know how much he wants to coach me. I’m not sure when I can get there, though, since it’s kind of far away. I might have to take an official there.”
Illinois: “I love how [head coach] Lovie Smith is there now. He’s a great coach, and it’s a great opportunity to play for a great coach. And their coaches let me know I can help them out a lot and make an early impact.”
Pitt: When I met Coach [Andre] Powell he was a great guy and we had a great conversation. He thinks I can really help them, and Pitt has great running backs up there too. I look at that a lot, what kind of running backs a schools produces, and Pitt has a good tradition of that.”
Although the aforementioned schools comprise Davis’ leaderboard for now, he allowed others could work into the mix down the road. For example, Minnesota just offered, and Davis said he would “have to do more research” on the Gophers to see if he might entertain them with a visit.
“And I know there will be more schools that will come in late, so I’m not sure how I’ll handle that yet,” Davis said. “I know some bigger schools will come in after my senior season, so I’ll have to see what the situation is down the road.”
If the Jesuit product is able to see enough campuses this summer, he said he’ll commit sometime in August. But if not, he’ll push back his decision date.
“I’m trying to decide in the summer. That’s the plan. Things can change, but I’m trying to make the decision before the season,” Davis said. “If not then, then midseason so I can take some officials.”